To Kill a Dragon

Politics, bah
you can fool all the people some of the time

The best thing about our last job was how we got it—-sometimes failing a job can get you richer than making it. We thought nothing good could come from that Wavir heir living, but at least she didn’t make us.

Wrong on both counts. It turns out she tracked us down not for revenge but to hire us against Tsalaxa! She was a bit coy but obviously knew we tried to take her down. The Wavir was a bit more subtle than our usual client—-she didn’t want us just to kill someone but cause some kind of political rukus between Draj and her rivals. Threw us for a bit of loop, but she was paying 100gp each and possibly more, so how could we say no?

After a bit of asking around on the street we posed as nobles wanting to sell some spell comps and walked right into Tsalaxa and Shom HQs. Of course they wouldn’t do business on the spot, but got some intel out of it: a certain high-ranking Templar didn’t like Tsalaxa and sometimes raided their associates.

Clearly someone close to this Templar needed to die at the hands of Tsalaxa. But how to set it up? We couldn’t just strangle the guy with a Tsalaxa banner. Could we? Tempting, but a voice in our heads kept counseling more subtlety.

We eventually arrived at a plan. We would steal a weapon from a well-known Tsalaxa henchman and treat it real gently psionically. Then we kill the Templar with it and leave it at the scene. Forensic psionists would point to Tsalaxa. This would be believable—-what assassin hasn’t misplaced a broken dagger fragment? Except us, of course.

That’s when all our troubles started. A failed attempt to nick a dagger from a Tsalaxa slave security chief left us running for cover across the city. But no harm done, it seemed. Short on time, we decided to mount a daylight raid on Tsalaxa HQ. We just walked in as nobles, hoping to filch a dagger or bolt from a guard.

But we got made at the compound’s main building and had to kill the two door guards. The alarm raised, we ran from room to room dodging and killing guards. We found a steel dagger, but no bone daggers or bolts. With the entire compound’s guards closing in, we had to sprint out under a hail of crossbow bolts. But yet again seredipity smiled on us—-the bolts embedded in our armor were just the objects we were seeking!

The stolen bolts obtained, we killed the Templar. We may be unpracticed at industrial espionage, but at assassination we are masters. We dispatched our mark and planted the bolt in him with little trouble. Only time would tell if Tsalaxa would be blamed the way we intended.

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Why halflings should be more careful

After all the other soft bodies left, the little one that smells like water joined to seek out the place where the greatest of fighters train, the monastery in the mountains. Joining caravans that took us towards it, we journeyed many days, from one city and towards another. Much of the time was easily spent and there was little to bother the caravans. We ate well and had our share of water, as was the agreement between the caravans and us.

As we approached the final leg of our journey, a hunting party of kreen came out of the desert. Seeing the weak caravan and recognizing them as prey, they set upon the soft bodies there, killing them quickly. The little soft body took our mounts and we departed long before the hunting party arrived, but waited to see whether the caravan would prevail or if any good things would be left to scavenge. However, as the kreen killed, it became apparent they were not stopping with their fair share of the kill, but continuing to kill past what they needed.

Stepping from the dunes, we made sure the kreen stopped and noticed us. After status had been determined, we talked of the waste they were creating killing more prey than they needed. The pack leader acquiesced, and allowed the caravan to depart, leaving their dead for the pack to eat. When the sun set and they had had their fill of meat, the hunting party was willing to speak of the road they had traveled. The kreen were not doing well, with little to hunt and prey scarce. We spoke, and traded information, regarding the good hunting among the giants near the city of the stout, hairless soft bodies, and we of the soft bodies near by who hunted each other and took slaves. As dawn approached, we went our separate ways.

After days more of travel, we arrived at the monastery high in the mountains where the air was cool and the air moist. Many were there, including farmers who tended small gardens and the warriors within the fortress. We asked for entry, but the door guards turned us away. After two days went, we chose to draw the attention of the teachers within. Taking the meat of the pack animals we had to kill rather than turn loose to starve in the foot hills, we cooked a large meal for any there who asked for it. As we did, the small one went to look at the gardens. As he went, he tried to leap across a wide gulf that was too far. Falling, he caught himself but found little purchase to climb back out.

Seeing the small one in danger, and the meat done cooking, leaping from garden to garden, and then climbing down the side of the garden pillar the small one was stranded upon, he was saved. The warriors within the stronghold sent out a rope to help, and lifted us into the fortress where monks awaiting us.

The small one needs to be more careful. He keeps leaping before he looks, and there may not be someone around to save him next time.

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Living the Good Life: Draug the Guard's Recollections

Draug the mul guard’s recollections

The last few days have been a nice change of pace. Ledopolus’ dwarven guards think nothing of bashing zombies day after day, all in the name of their bridge. While I also enjoy a good zombie decapitation, chopping endless zombie hordes for weeks does grow…tiring. An unusual feeling for we muls. So this week has been a welcome change of scenery. I’m being paid and fed well, and all I have to do is sit on a strange wood contraption and make sure nobody steals it. As if anyone besides this one dwarven crackpot even knows what it is or how to move it…

I was enjoying a mug of dwarven ale at the Bridge Pillar Inn when I saw what looked like the beginning of an old joke: a human, a half-elf, a halfling, and a thri-kreen walked into the bar. They immediately sat down behind me and began talking loudly. The halfling was burned and scarred by the sun and sand, and he wanted only to rest in town and build up his toughness. He tottered upstairs and was seen no more. The kreen rasped his desire to search for some…monastery? It’s so hard to understand those bugs. The kreen walked out of the tavern and was gone.

The human and the half-elf wanted to search the desert for the human’s father, who had apparently gone to look for HIM. Huh, good luck with that: Athas is vast and cruel. At least they showed some sense in deciding to hire some help on their journey. While they might not be raiders, the raiders would eventually find them. The half-elf displayed a surprising willingness to destroy any attacking raiders and scavenge their gear & supplies. Reminds me of an old gladiator “game” I was forced to play once.

I thought about opening my mouth, but the two got up and approached a dark stranger with odd red eyes at a back table. Everyone sat down and while I couldn’t quite hear what they said, they eventually shook hands and the stranger appeared to have joined their search.

Then they made the best decision they could have made: they came to my table. I needed a break, and so I agreed to join them. They’d pay me in ceramics for each day, plus they’d provide food, water, and shelter.

We talked about how to purchase and outfit crodlu and/or erdlu for riding and as pack animals. During the conversation, an eccentric middle-aged dwarf butted in and started prattling about his “sand skiff”. Apparently his contraption could use the power of his mind, and the wind, to move across the salt flats. Plus it was apparently faster than crodlu and not needing supplies. The group hired the dwarf, whose name turned out to be Krafke, and his skiff.

We rolled out of Ledopolus on the thing and we quickly zoomed northwest to Fort Kalvis. Krafke and I sat with the skiff while the group entered the fort. Well, I think they all did. The dark red-eye stranger avoided the entry fee by vanishing through a wall! Or maybe he went through a door—it was hard to see through the haze and dust. From what they said later, they met some chatty trader named Limrick who gave them some info on the human’s father. They must have traded with him, since I heard the clink of iron bars when they returned. I think they were offloading steel weapons and that they still have quite a few left. These guys must be a lot more powerful than they appear.

Next, we left Fort Kalvis on the skiff and sailed to Gulg. I later learned that they had again tried to get info on the human’s father, but the trail ran cold. They tried to sell some of their steel, but they were overly conspicuous in doing so. Eventually they were confronted by a Templar patrol. After some deliberation, the group made a “voluntary donation” to the Oba. Old man Hornswoggle was right when he used to say that nothing good ever comes out of an elven market.

Our next port of call was Fort Isus, a trading fort to the northeast. No trace of the human’s father. The group did sell some steel, this time without incident.

We sailed north and noticed a massive column of smoke in the air. Upon investigation, we found the smoke to be coming from a massive dwarven excavation pit. One of the dwarven miners said they were digging away when the pit exploded into flame, and kept burning. It was chaos: there were elves everywhere, many selling trinkets to the numerous gawkers coming from miles around. It was unclear exactly what happened or how it was significant, and eventually we sailed on.

We went north and then west, around the northeast rim of the Dragon’s Bowl to Urik. The trip, though long, was fast and uneventful. There wasn’t much excitement in Urik. Still no trace of the human’s father, and the group felt that if he ever made it to Urik, he must have left. There was a good chance he hadn’t gotten to Urik yet, as our sand skiff covers much more ground each day than a few bumpy hours on a plodding crodlu. So the group decided to sail back the way they came and try to meet him on his way to Urik.

It’s the good life for ol’ Draug. Fed well and paid well to sit in a boat. Let the good times roll.

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The Road to Ledopolus

The party broke camp on the edge of the salt flats and moved into the salt flats toward Ledopolus. Travel was swift, despite Lodewijk’s lingering injuries. After a few hours, the group noticed some giant pillars off in one direction, and a hilly area in another direction. Shortly after that, they came upon a seemingly abandoned encampment, but with numerous unmoving corpses in it. Stravos and Zet’er st’dti investigated, and the corpses turned out to be some type of salt zombie. Stravos drew them away from the camp, killing one, while Zet’er examined the camp’s goods and salvaged some steel (!) weapons, mundane armor, and strange scrolls.

Pursued by the slow-moving zombies, Stravos and Zet’er rejoined Lodewijk, Darian, and the erdlus. The group decided to outrun the zombies and make it to Ledopolus, hopefully leading the zombies astray in the process. The party eventually made it to Ledopolus, although everyone was hurting and Lodewijk was in pretty bad shape. The zombies were never heard from again, although they may have been among the zombies that were regularly destroyed by the town guards.

Darian was greeted warmly, as everyone in town had assumed he was dead. He secured lodging and healing for the group, and made an extensive report to Orodin, the head trader. It turned out that most of the dwarves on his caravan had straggled back to town, and the losses were a few dwarves and the caravan itself…which was counterbalanced by Darian’s share of the steel weapon treasures. It seemed as if Darian would be given command of another caravan at some point.

Darian also learned that his father had left Ledopolus to look for him, and Darian resolved to look for his father.

Stravos’ skills were appreciated by Orodin, and it seems possible that Stravos could be formally hired to serve on an Orodin caravan. Orodin might find Zet’er and Lodewijk useful as well.

Next, the party visited Shardivan, a dwarf elder retired from adventuring. Shardivan was accommodating and he answered lots of questions. He explained the corpses as having been defiled. He deciphered the strange scrolls and told the group they were recipes for poisons; to learn more, the party would need to travel to the Poisoner’s Pit and find someone named Wheelock. Shardivan was able to entirely erase the slave marks on Stravos and Darian, and only a vague slave scar was left on Lodewijk. The group stayed for dwarven tea.

Darian, Zet’er, and Stravos decided to revisit the “abandoned” zombie encampment to loot whatever other goods they could carry. They were accompanied by Ganolo, who was not thrilled about it, and several dwarven guards with pack erdlus. Lodewijk stayed in town to heal up.

En route to the encampment, they were attacked by a roc, and were partially successful in squeezing into nooks and crannies to hide from it. Darian was able to psionically entice the roc to leave. The party continued to the camp, looted everything of any value (mundane weapons, armor, and equipment), and returned to Ledopolus.

The party reunited with a somewhat refreshed Lodewijk and everyone is determining their plans. Darian wants to search for his father, Stravos is thinking of going with him, Zet’er wants to hone his skills at a monastery but might travel with the group for a while, and Lodewijk wants to stay in Ledopolus to build his toughness. There are party rumors of opportunistic trading and raiding (but only in self-defense, of course).

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Internal Tsalaxa Notification: Highest Security Clearance Needed to Obtain

*This communication is intended for only Patron Family Members and Top Tsalaxa Officials only. Anyone distributing this information outside of those persons will be executed. All names have been omitted to protect all involved.

From the desk of [name deleted]:

Early this morning our Tsalaxa house informants based in Draj informed main Draj command that Lestria Wavir had entered this city with just a guard of five Mul fighters. This was an unprecedented opportunity to gain a huge advantage against our main rivals, as Lestria Wavir is much more than just a figurehead for their trading house. However, any operation must not be linked back to Tsalaxa in any way, as both Draj officials and other Trading Houses would shun us if they found out of our ultimate plans, and we would be stuck trading with the already known brutes of Stel.

While Lestria Eavis traveled to meet with high level Templars in the city center, we put the call out through our clandestine channels for assassins of the highest quality. An hour later two master assassins, [name deleted] and [name deleted] met with the [name deleted] and received their instructions: 300 gold pieces each with Lestria Wavir captured alive, and 150 GP each with proof of her death, with 50 GP each up front. Any means necessary were acceptable, although they had to make sure Tsalaxa was not in any way connected to this action. After the assassins snuck out the back door of Tsalaxa HQ, we made sure our informants kept tabs on them.

Initially the two assassins made their way to the Wavir Emporium and compound in Draj, and easily gained access. We do not have complete records of their activity in the compound, but through windows and other access points we discovered they were able to inspect every piece of Wavir written correspondence, eavesdrop and obtain information about Lestria Wavir’s plans and map the entire compound as they moved through it. We also caught glimpses of an altercation in which the assassins killed two Wavir guards that had wandered onto their trail. Done in about 5 seconds and without a sound, these two assassins may be the best two in the entire city.

From there the assassins made way into the Wavir warehouse, but a careless stumble caused them to be noticed. The managed to escape the warehouse using psionic noise and light trickery, although at least a dozen more Wavir guards were waiting for them outside the warehouse. The assassins easily outran them however, as after three blocks of winding through Draj alleys they lept onto the rooftops of the Trading district, leaping the gaps between buildings like a kank over a crack in the cobblestones, and the Wavir guards has no chance to catch them.

After disappearing for a while, we picked the assassins back up tailing the Wavir compound commander making his way to the City center with 6 mul guards around sundown. As he made his way through the main gate, the two assassions easily lept the city center wall. they were able to make their way to the back of the Templar’s main compound, where they gathered the necesary intelligence – Lestria Wavir was not staying the night. After her meetings with the Templars were finished she would rejoin here heavily armed mekillot caravan outside the city and depart Draj.

At this time the Templar commander caught the faintest of noises and deduced the presence of outsiders. The assassins made a quick getaway, this time using the alleys and rooftops to elude over 3 dozen city guards and templars. At one point [name deleted] saw one fly twenty feet in the air as dumbfounded guards looked on. The skill and grace at which these two assassins made their way around the roofs of Draj was like a sorcerer-king magic ballet.

Once their trail had again gone cold they made preparations for their final action – a smash and grab for Lestria Wavir as she departed the city. She was making way for the city gate with the leader of Wavir’s Draj compound and 11 Mul guards. as they made the turn south for the gate along the main road, the assassins struck. One, on a roof on the east side of the street, unleashed a hellish psionic attack that injured most of the Muls and Lestria. Then the other, from a two story roof on the west side of the street came flying down, sword drawn. After a double backflip on the descent he drove his blade directly into Lestria Wavir’s chest cavity, a true a precise strike, and she instant crumpled to the ground. He grabbed her lifeless body and sprang onto a rooftop on the other side of the street, joining his companion.

Despite being surprised and injured, the Mul guards sprang into action, and the assassins could not escape carrying the body of Lestria Wavir, so they did the only thing they could – stand and fight. Swords drawn they fought bravely, defending their prize. Using some psionic power to send Muls flying off the roof and to gain hand-to-hand advantage over the Muls, the assassins proved their skill, as they were ultimately able to slay 8 of the 11 Muls and driving the remaining 3 within an inch of their lives. Only a lucky strike from one Mul’s carrakal, that knocked one of the assassins unconscious, saved Lestria Wavir. The remaining assassin gathered the unconcious body of his companion and fled the scene. The Muls and the Wavir Draj commander gathered Lestria Wavir body and returned it to her caravan outside the city. Our informants surmise that she will unfortunately make a recover and was not killed, although she may never again be fully healthy, due to the sever damage from the amazing flying-double-backflip rapier strike directly into her chest cavity.

While ultimately Lestria Wavir was not captured or killed, we still commend the two assassins for a job well done, and we believe those 100 GP paid upfront was an excellent investment. Seemingly able to defeat any adversary save the sorcerer king himself, we know who to contact the next time we need services.

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Zet'er st'dti Wonders How Much Lower He Can Get
July 16

I’m not sure how I got into this situation. After being in the wastes alone for several days, several soft bodies were traveling by and I offered to trade them for water. They seemed different than other soft bodies I have encountered, not wanting the shiny things others have wanted but preferring necessities. So I hunted and killed meat for them and they gave me a large quantity of the water I needed. As I had not seen other such groups in the area for a long time, I decided to travel with them to their next destination where I might find other Kreen. I soon discovered how weak these soft bodies were.

The small one seemed much like my last clutchmates, a hunter, but he also appears weak, not desiring to engage his enemies and also runs into situation without enough thought. However the psion seems much intelligent, and his statements that I was stronger than his companions only reaffirms that my conclusion is correct. The pointy eared elf-man, although a warrior, also seems not to be a good hunter and fearful of something, perhaps the large beast we saw on the horizon as we traveled to this place the soft bodies call Fort Amber.

As we traveled, it likewise became clear these soft bodies are not true hunters, being trapped by flowing sand walls that nearly killed their pack animal and themselves. Once again, the psion proved himself where as the little one needed saving after a bad decission. The elf-man proved his strength, but seemed to be not a quick thinker, abandoning his pack animal in favor of saving a few pieces of food that could easily be hunted for. The psion saved the pack animal while I had to save the small one. I hope this does not keep happening.

In Fort Amber the soft bodies appeared to be very excited over the oasis that was there. It confused me, as there are oasis in the desert you don’t have to pay to drink from, but the soft bodies were excited and happy, and it appeared they required the boost to morale. I spoke to a soft bodied named Limrick who knew the ways of the Kreen and we traded successfully for essentials and extra equipment. However, as we departed town, the psion said we were slaves, which I have never been, and this angered the leader of the fort, a Junior Commander for the merchant house there. We departed soon after.

We traveled more days into the desert, where the small one was badly incapacitated by a wind storm, and I found us an oasis to recover from our wounds and restock our food and water stores. However, after seeing how the soft bodies were acting, I took the leadership of the clutch so we would not all die in the wastes. So far this seems to still be the best decision for the clutch.

We made it safely to Kalvis, where the people were ignorant and weak. This place made the soft bodies nervous, and after going inside and seeing how stupid these prey are, I can understand. Stupid prey are dangerous prey, especially when they are packed so close together. We gathered some things and left soon after.

We have stopped after several days of hunting at the edge of the silt sands, where the soft bodies wish to cross to Altaruk, a dwarven stronghold in the sands. I fear this may test the soft bodies greatly, especially since they seem to need to stop each day for hours and drink water as quickly as the sands. Perhaps I should ask who they are going there to see so I can deliver their things after I bury their corpses.

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Jura Dai Negotiations / Stravos' Ante Adventure

The Memories of Stravos

Stravos wasn’t just a slave, he was formerly a different kind of slave. He was purchased in the general slave pits of Draj by Linder and Orel, senior and junior agents of house Tsalaxa. House Tsalaxa is the dominant merchant house of the city of Draj, known for its sharp trade practices and penchant for betrayal.

From the start, Linder appeared to be a firm but fair slave master, while Orel showed nothing but contempt for Stravos and the other slaves. These attitudes deepened after an unknown enemy ambushed a Tsalaxa caravan consisting of Linder, Orel, Stravos, and about a dozen other hirelings and slaves.

During the ambush, with his life in the balance, Stravos experienced an epiphany. He called on the power of the spirits to enter a rage, singlehandedly killing several attackers. With Stravos’ help, the rest of the attackers were defeated. Although neither Linder and Orel witnessed these exploits firsthand, word quickly reached them. Linder treated Stravos as valued resource; Orel denied the accounts and suspected Stravos of treachery.

Over Orel’s suggestions, Linder assigned Stravos a crodlu to scout at the head of his caravan, fully utilizing Stravos’ talents of stealth, mobility, and perception. As a scout, Stravos remained loyal and discovered another large force of attackers. Orel again accused him of deceit and rode off to investigate himself. Precious time wasted, the attackers fell on the caravan in great numbers, this time enslaving or killing the entire Tsalaxa party. Stravos ended up a slave to house Stel, unaware of the fates of Linder and Orel.

Negotiations with the Jura Dai

Lodewijk, Stravos, Darian, and the dwarves from Kled searched the craggy wastes for the Jura Dai. At first led by the rescued Jura Dai elf vixen Jengi, they released her to find her own way after realizing she was leading them in circles.

After making camp for the midday, they were discovered by a large elf force led by Gaefal, a high ranking member of the Jura Dai. After foiling an elven attempt to gain the higher ground, the dwarven party met the elves on equal terms and launched their diplomatic offensive. After several tense moments and a bit of trading and feasting, some progress was made.

Gaefal all but admitted that the elves were poisoning the oasis at Kled with an elven herb known as methelinoc. He also strongly implied that the elves were holding the druid of Kled hostage. However, he showed little inclination to rethink either of these decisions. To the Jura Dai, the dwarves would be insignificant either as an ally and trading partner, or as an enemy. House Stel and Urik are the elves’ true enemies, and they are willing to take whatever steps they feel give them the advantage in that war.

Despite this, Gaefal agreed to continue negotiations at a higher level. He agreed on a meeting on neutral ground of the elders of the elven tribe and dwarven village. With this diplomatic victory, and a better understanding of the Jura Dai, the dwarven party headed back to Kled.

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Lodewijk's Ante Adventure

Background

Mogg-lul had been the chief of a large halfling clan in the Forest Ridge. He reached an agreement with Lalali-Puy, the Oba of the tree-city of Gulg, where he would send a detachment of halflings to serve the Oba as scouts and irregular troops—but not as slaves. Approximately 100 halflings were sent to serve the Oba, including Lodewijk and his halfling friends Saradac and Adelard. All parties honorably lived up to the agreement for several years.

According to halfling culture, agreements are made between individuals and not cultures or political entities. When one of the signees dies, the agreement does not remain in force unless the successor agrees to it. When the old chief Mogg-lul died, his successor Alu had no wish to continue the agreement with the Oba, and so the halflings considered the agreement to be in abeyance. Accordingly, their detachment tried to return home to the Forest Ridge.

But the Oba prevented their return and instead threw them all into slavery. Along with countless other demihuman slaves, the halflings were consigned to spend the rest of their days foraging in the forest—under heavy guard. Some halflings escaped and many others died trying; halflings do not take well to slavery and they survive poorly at best.

Slavery in Gulg consisted of forced labor: foraging for tree nuts and other fruits of the Crescent Forest. Nine slaves worked together, three races of three each. Each racial group was responsible for policing the others; if anyone escaped or misbehaved, all were punished. Each work group was accompanied by four guards and one templar of Gulg. The guards were there to prevent escapes, of course, but also to protect the slaves from the forest itself. Nibenay raiders, nightmare beasts, wyverns, and fire drakes were all known to inhabit the forest and occasionally attack foraging groups.

Lodewijk’s Story

Lodewijk, Saradac, and Adelard were enslaved together in the same work group. Over time, they grew accustomed to the dreadful drudgery. They concocted an escape plan using their psionic abilities. Saradac and Adelard would use their abilities to distract the guards and Lodewijk would enhance the halflings’ speed. When the guards were sufficiently distracted, the group would make a break for it and vanish into the forest.

And that’s more or less what happened. Some phantom drake noises, aided by the forest canopy blocking visibility, kept the guards on edge and focused on the sky. One slave’s memory was repeatedly altered so the poor schlub never heard the guards’ commands. When the guards were yelling at the “disobeying” slave, the halflings took off running! The guards fired a few crossbow bolts but the long range and substantial forest overgrowth served to protect the halflings. The templar was able to somehow create a small earthquake and knock Lodewijk to the ground, but he was able to keep moving via mental energy. The halflings disappeared into the forest…

...with nothing but the scraps of clothing on their backs. They spent the next week building up supplies and survival gear, aided by the forest’s bounty and temperate climate. By chance, they stumbled upon a group of escaped halfling slaves that had adopted the name “Losthome Clan”. Led by a halfling named Zevlil, Losthome had existed undetected in the forest for years. The clan had been debating what to do: should they build a new home, try to free their enslaved brethren, or begin the long journey toward their original home in the Forest Ridge? They’d established themselves in the forest as they continued to debate. Each halfling contributed to the clan’s existence, and there were now about 40 halflings in Losthome. The clan’s best estimate was that 20-40 were halflings were still enslaved and alive. All agreed that Losthome must continue to exist as a place for future escapees to come.

Zevlil and the rest of Losthome agreed that whatever their decision, the clan needed to know more about the world around the forest. Terrain, inhabitants, customs, everything. The clan also needed to know about possible routes back to the Forest Ridge. Essentially, Losthome needed scouting, spying, and reconnaissance.

Lodewijk’s abilities matched up well with the reconnaissance need. The clan agreed that Lodewijk would learn about the areas around the forest and toward the Forest Ridge. He would be accompanied by Saradac and Adelard. The three halflings set out.

Their mission was doomed almost from the start. They were captured almost immediately, and Lodewijk lost track of Saradac and Adelard. The next thing Lodewijk knew, he found himself on a House Stel slave barge from Urik en route to the obsidian mines. Oddly enough, that was all he knew—he couldn’t remember anything from before the barge. That is where he met Darian and Stravos, and the rest is history

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Finding the Jura Dai

Prior to leaving Kled, the party made a few minor gear trades with the dwarves. The 3 PCs, 12 dwarves, and 12 erdlu left for the Jura Dai camp.

While traveling, the PCs & dwarves developed a new initial plan to present to the elves. The PCs will ask the Jura Dai for the poison itself, and let the dwarves control it. The dwarves would take responsibility for poisoning the oasis if any Stel caravans or Urik guards approach, and otherwise leave it pure. This frees the elves from having to regularly re-poison the oasis. The elves and their kanks are either immune to the poison or the elves have the antidote, so no harm will come to them.

Potential drawbacks: the elves may not trust the dwarves to do what they say; many believe the dwarves are allied with Stel/Urik. The captured druid may not go along with the oasis being poisoned at all, but it’s better than nothing and the party will have to deal with the druid later.

On the way, Lodewijk had an epiphany, remembered his past, and related his story to the party. See Lodewijk’s Ante Adventure for details.

An elf was spotted, but ran away before anyone could do anything.

A short while later, the group heard a scream. Upon investigating, they found an elf woman cornered by a pack of twelve gith. Stravos and Lodewijk drew off most of the gith while Darian and the dwarves came to the rescue (along with another elf who showed up). Eventually the party prevailed. However, the second elf was killed, and Stravos, the elf woman, and several dwarves were beaten within an inch of their lives (and now bear lingering injuries).

The elf woman, whose name turned out to be Jengi, lamented the loss of her dead elf friend (whose name had been Fanan). In gratitude and suspicion, Jengi agreed to lead the party to the Jura Dai fortress, and did so. Lodewijk communed with nature and determined there were no other gith nearby. A search of the gith showed they had been supplied to travel a few days, but certainly not all the way from their home territory. Unanswered questions include what the gith were doing, how the gith got so far from their home, and whether there were more gith in the area.

Several long-abandoned ruins dotted the landscape as Jengi led the party toward the Jura Dai fortress. The fortress turned out to be in poor repair, but still sufficient for defense.

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Back on our feet

After escaping the Stel mekillot slave barge and and avoiding being killed by the attacking Jura Dai elves and later thirsty soldiers, albeit we tried hard to get killed by the soldiers, the three adventurers founds themselves in the middle of the desert with only a hazy map.

Deciding to go away from Urik to avoid re-capture by slavers, the group made its way to the oasis on the map. After navigating the desert well enough to get closer to the oasis, they came across mekillot tracks and followed those the rest of the way to the oasis.

The oasis looked good, but had 3 main problems. Mud around half of it that housed a mud monster, an agitated mekillot and poisoned water. after various tests the group managed to purify the water by boiling it while avoiding the mud monster and mekillot, although the halfling did get bitten while gathering dead bird carcases to make a nice hat. the group rested for a night full of boiling hot water, moldy veggies and pine needle beds. we got all our surges back too.

a group of 20 young Jura Dai elves and 6 kanks happened by, but decided to water somewhere else after we couldn’t help them kill or avoid the the mekillot. they did tell us that the dwarves left the food as a gift to the druid of the oasis, and they are poisoning the water because their elder told them to.

just afterwards a group of more than a dozen dwarves children came by, and ignored our warnings of poisoned water, mud monsters and mekillot. one dwarf kid got eaten by the mud monster, and we escorted the rest back to their village, Kled.

There we had a long chat with the village elder, named Barunus and we learned the following:
  • Kled dwarves are rebuilding the ancient dwarven city of Kemalok
  • there are over 500 dwarves in the village
  • the Jura Dai elves are fighting Urik over Stel slavers capturing Jura Dai elves to sell to Tyr as slaves to work on the ziggurat.
  • they are doing this by poisoning all the oasis in Jura Dai territory so Stel can’t water easily, making their caravans harder to run and much less profitable.
  • this is taking away Kled’s water as well, as not only are the Jura Dai poisoning the nearby oasis, but they captured the druid of the oasis. the village is hard up for water.
  • the dwarves have begged Jura Dai to stop, but once Kled was forced by Urik warriors to let Stel caravans use their well, the Jura Dai believe Kled is in league with Urik and Stel.

after sleeping in kled, the group decided to try and help the dwarves of Kled, as it is the right thing to do, and may be the next step to getting mounts so we can return to north ledopolus. we also have a fairly compelling case with the Jura Dai, as we helped them some on the Stel barge, tried to help them at the oasis, and we clearly have a beef with Stel and Urik, as we were also enslaved by stel recently. Our hope is to trade ceramics, some favors from the dwarves and a convincing story to the Jura Dai for either an antidote for the poison, the release of the druid, their agreement to stop poisoning that specific oasis, or some combination there of. force or a jailbreak of the druid are long shots.

we got a dozen erdlu and a dozen dwarven warriors and made our way to the Jura Dai camp, which is in the deep valley close to the ringing mountains….

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